The 2006 St Louis Cardinals: A Sinking Ship?*

[The dreaded and rare weekend post, Al? Well, yeah, it’s a long night in the office and that damn gerbil in my head won’t stop running on that tiny little wheel, so I’m just going to throw something out there for the internets.]

Cardinals and sports fans, we are in the midst of a collapse of epic proportions. Dogs and cats are living in sin, somebody just screamed something about Leonard Bernstein, and Kevin Costner is delivering mail to Tom Petty. It’s the end of the world as we know it, alright.

The Cardinals are not going to win their division anymore.

They’re still in first place, but are without their closer and are missing a big bat due to injury. Heck, they’ve got a rookie closing games. This will not end well.

Take a look at what the Cardinals have done since September the 8th, squandering what once was a nice, cushy lead in the division down to 5 ½ games with nine left to play:

9/8 L, 2- 4
9/9 L, 5- 6
9/10 L, 5-10
9/11 L, 1- 6
9/13 W, 6- 4
9/14 L, 9-10
9/15 L, 5- 7
9/16 W, 2- 1
9/17 L, 0- 5
9/18 W, 2- 1
9/19 L, 5- 7
9/20 W, 7- 6
9/21 L, 0- 8
9/22 L, 1- 4

That’s a total Record of 4-10 with 50 runs scored and 79 runs allowed.

Except, that’s not the Cardinals record: That’s the Chicago White Sox’s record from September 8th to Sep 22nd in 2005. By that point in time, the Cleveland Indians had reduced the White Sox’s division lead from 15 games to 1 ½.

And then they went out and won the fucking World Series.

All without their old closer, without that big bat in the lineup, and with a rookie playing a vital role in the bullpen. Sounds familiar, right? Like exactly what the Cardinals are going through?

There wasn’t a dramatic change in personnel or game calling, either. Things just started clicking and the next thing they knew, they were running on all cylinders. And they won the World Series.

So what have the Cardinals done in that same time span? Just a little bit better than the Sox did really: 5-8, with 67 runs scored and 59 runs allowed. But there are still nine games to play and with a 5 ½ game lead, it’s not guaranteed that the Cards make the playoffs, but it will take a collapse of epic proportions from here on out for the Cardinals not to make it.

And I’m not saying the Cards are going to win the World Series even if they do make it. They won’t. They’re just not that good of a team. But every year, on the second to last weekend of the baseball season, one of the divisional leaders starts to slip just a bit and all of a sudden, the over reactionaries of their fan base start glooming and dooming about how they’re the next 1964 Phillies. Last year it was the White Sox. This year, apparently, it’s the Cardinals.

So sit back and enjoy the ride, Cards fans, because it’s going to take a monumental stumble from first for the Redbirds not to make the postseason.

A collapse that neither fan nor foe of the franchise will ever forget.

Unlike what will happen when the Cardinals do make the playoffs and get swept by the Mets in the NLDS.

Nobody is going to remember that.

[of course, if the cards could go ahead and finish out the season playing ball at a .800 clip like the ’05 White Sox did, that would be great, too. either way, keep on having that grand weekend, kids.]

*God bless Shea Hillenbrand!


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